Blog Post # 242 – Check Yourself

Check yourself.

When confronted with an emotional upheaval, we need to check ourselves.

See how we are processing things.

Tap into where we are at.

Where do our thoughts take us?

How does our body feel?

What is our mindset?

Taking a mental scan of our body and spirit, starting at the top of our head and working down to the bottom of our feet.

Just to see where we are.

In times of high alert, we may want to be checking on ourselves frequently.

Several times a day.

If we don’t know where we are mentally, we will not be able to take action.

We will not be able to help others.

Upon reflection, insights come to the forefront.

Our vision becomes clearer.

We just have to be still and check in.

Journaling helps us extract our current mental position.

To define it, enclose it and own it.

For today, let’s try and remember to check in on ourselves at various times throughout the day.


Doesn’t take long.

Doesn’t cost anything.

But it can definitely help keep us focused and our eyes on the prize.

Blog Post # 242 – One Single Step

One step.

One single step forward.

When we feel stuck, beaten, defeated, we just need one step.

One step towards the light.

One tiny movement.

Make things better in one small way.

Hug our child a little harder.

Speak a little more softly.

Focus.

Quiet.

Still.

We may be shaken or upset or depressed.

Sitting still does us no good.

We must ask ourselves – what is the one thing we can do today to make things better?

Who can we help?

Help heal.

Help to safety.

Help recover.

One thing is for sure.

We are in this together.

We need to stand together.

In unison.

And take that step towards each other.

Towards something bigger than ourselves.

Towards our own freedom.

This world cannot cage us.

These events cannot define us.

If we take that small step away from our chains.

And fight.

Blog Post # 241 – Whatever Happens

Whatever happens.

We are ready.

We are ready for whatever happens.

We will survive whatever happens.

The sun will still rise tomorrow.

The earth will still turn.

Life will go on.

It would be overly simplistic to say that things happen as they are meant to be.

Perhaps it is best to things just are.

Whatever the outcome today – whatever happens – we have to be prepared.

To mend fences.

To make peace.

To move forward.

Never has a political campaign been this nasty, this over the top, this vulgar.

Democracy in its most base form.

The true America.

This campaign has removed the false veneer that America is a post-racial society.

Emotions and anger have been as high as I’ve ever seen them.

But America has seen worse.

Slavery, Japanese internment camps, segregation, 9/11.

Slavery came to an end.  The camps closed.  Segregation improved.

The sun came up on September 12, 2001.

Bad things happen.  Every day.

Our job as humans is to survive.

And we will.

Blog Post # 240 – Two Boys. Shot Dead.

When Noor and Ibrahim were little, they had two of the best caregivers ever.

Ms. Gigi and Ms. Katie.

Ms. Gigi operated a daycare center out of her house and we would drop our two little ones off there every morning before we went to work.

Eventually, Ms. Gigi closed the daycare.

But luckily for us, Ms. Katie stayed on with us.  She watched baby Noor during the day and the boys when they came home from school.

Ms. Katie had her own newborn son, a beautiful boy named Xander.

We came to love Ms. Katie, her husband Shawn and especially Xander.

They were like family and we spent a lot of time together.

Eventually, Noor went to her wonderful montessori and Ms. Katie stopped helping us at home.

Fast forward to last Saturday night.  We were at a fundraiser with the boys and everyone’s Amber Alert went off simultaneously.

Two little boys were missing.  Their estranged father had taken them without permission.

We didn’t know it at the time, but the two boys were the nephews of Ms. Katie.

Their names were Ethan Cadenbach and Owen Cadenbach.

Ethan was 5 years old.  Owen was 4.

According to news reports, their father took them forcefully from the custody of his own mother, the boys’ grandmother.

He took them to a park, shot them both and they died.  He then killed himself.

At the time their father took them, the police were looking to arrest their father for a domestic assault on their mother Elise, Ms. Katie’s sister.

He did the unthinkable.

Elise told the newspapers that the boys’ father did this to hurt her.

His deplorable act leaves Elise, Katie, Shawn and the rest of their family to pick up the pieces in the horrible aftermath.

Two little boys.  Shot dead.

We could talk about guns.

We could talk about the violence that some men perpetrate against women.

We could talk about a legal system that is imperfect and that cannot prevent every tragedy.

There will be time for all of that.

For now, Elise is without her boys.  Katie and Shawn are without their nephew.  Xander is without his cousins.

Katie and I texted for awhile yesterday.  

How do you explain this to your kids?

How do you support your sister?

How do you make it through the day.

We see these stories on the news.  Too often, sadly.

But when evil comes close, it shakes you to your core.

Makes me want to kiss my kids, hold them tight and to try and protect them from this cruel world.

To pray for Ethan and Owen.

To ask God’s mercy.

On all of us.

We love you Ms. Katie.

If you would be interested in donating to Ethan and Owen’s funeral expenses, you can do so by clicking right here.

Blog Post # 239 – What if?

Let’s play a game.

A game of what if?

What if 9/11 had never occurred?

What if Al Gore had won the 2000 election?

What if President Kennedy had not been killed in 1963?

This game works on a smaller, more personal scale, too.

What if we had never met our spouse or our significant other?

What if we had been born in another country?

What if the abuse we suffered had never occurred?

The what if game can make us crazy.

Some people live in the world of what if.

Dreaming about how things could have been instead of how they actually went down.

They may even think that things that actually happened never really did.

Alas, at the end of the day, we are left with the life that we lived.

The things that really did happen.

We can think of the different trajectories that our lives may have taken.

But here we are.

The sum total of our experiences.

And the way that those experiences impacted us.

What do we do with this then?

We accept it.  We own it.  We do what we can to shape our present circumstances.

And we let go of the what if’s.

Focus on today.  And tomorrow.

Try and build something so that we no longer want to, or need to, bemoan what MIGHT have been.

Content with things as they are.

And as they were.

Blog Post # 238 – A Good Stress

Not all stress is bad.

Too much stress is bad.

Bad stress is bad.

But some stress is good.

Diamonds are not created without enough pressure.

So too with us.

We often live a soft, comfortable life.

Try to avoid stress.

But good stress challenges us.

Asks us to rise above.

To persevere.

Muscles are strengthened by resistance.

Stressors pushing against us, making us stronger.

Stress also helps bring things into focus.

Makes us turn our attention to the things that matter.

To dial in and go.

For today, let us acknowledge the stressors in our lives.

The people, situations and circumstances that push us to the max.

And as hard as it may be, let us look for good stress.

To bring out our very best.

Blog Post # 237 – Those Who Cheer Us

Let’s hear it for those that cheer us.

Our champions.

The friends who support us when we stretch to new heights.

Give us a pat on the back, a word or two of encouragement or a Facebook like.

When we try new things, those around us usually fall into one of two camps.

Those that cheer us and those that do not.

Trying something new or different seems to suggest to some people that we are saying that the old way isn’t working.

Some folks may take that as a threat.

Not a life-threatening threat, but a threat to their stable existence nonetheless.

They get weird.

They don’t know how to talk to us as we begin our new journey.

It seems to shake them.

This of course says much more about them and where they are on their own journey than it says about us.

As long as the choices we are making are decisions towards greatness, to our higher self.

When we get pushback or negative commentary in these situations, better to just let those go.

To find new champions, advocates and supporters.

These are the compadres to honor.

In Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, Elton John sang “I thank the Lord for the people I have found.”

We should considers ourselves extremely lucky to have so many champions.  So many supporters.  So many friends.

And if we would like additional fans, all we have to do is ask.

I, for one, support any step you take towards your truest, greatest, most amazing self.

In fact, we all do.  Go for it.

Blog Post # 236 – The Hike of Life

I’ve been walking the kids up to their respective bus stops for the past few days.

They grumble because the car is faster.

But I got this FitBit and the more steps I take, the better it is for me.

Noor and I are in a step competition each day.

So far, I am leading and she is trailing.

From our driveway and the cul-de-sac, there is a pretty steep hill.

When you start up the hill, it seems more steep than it is.

You take some extra breaths and the hike up the hill becomes a bit strenuous.

Find yourself breathing hard towards the top.

And then all of a sudden, about 200 feet from the end of our subdivision, the road flattens.

The walk becomes easier.

Smooth sailing for the rest of the bus stop walk.

Breaths return to normal.

Now here’s the thing.

The spot where things become easier is not really visible.

You just find that – rather quickly – the difficulty fades away.

And the trudge becomes a little more enjoyable.

A gift of sorts.

Life is like this.

We can find ourselves all of a sudden trudging along without a clear end in sight.

But if we keep stepping up, keep striving and striding, things do get easier.

Almost on their own.

Without us doing anything besides not giving up.

For today, let us keep going.

Let us continue the hike of life, up the hills as strong as we can.

Things will even out.

We can trust this.

Even if we can’t see it.

Blog Post # 235 – We Are. Not Bad.

Not bad.

As in – I am not bad.

I have spent too much time in my life telling myself that I am bad.

“I am bad” was a constant internal refrain.

If I made a mistake, I was bad.

A poor decision, bad.

A diet detour, bad.

Bad. Bad. Bad.

This led to much shame. And defeatism.

Kept me from improving, stretching, striving.

Why try if I am bad?

But this construct does not work for me anymore.

The world is not this black and white.

Bad and good is too simplistic.

And too harsh.

I may make a poor choice.

Even make a bad decision.

But that does not make me a bad person.

Instead of repeating over and over in my head that I am bad, I understand that I am a good person who made a bad choice.

To learn from it and hopefully make a better choice the next time.

The old bad/good dichotomy doesn’t really work for me anymore.

And if I know that about myself, then I think it must be true for other people.

Most of my brothers and sisters walking around on this planet are neither bad or good.

They are simply people who made choices.

Some bad, some good.

So if we can see that in others, that’s not a bad thing.

In fact, it is a recognition of our combined humanity.

And that is …. not bad.

Blog Post # 234 – Think Big, Start Small

Think big.

Start small.

Gary V would say to look to the clouds, but dig in the dirt.

Having huge goals is a wonderful thing.

But practicality has to come into play as well.

Breaking long-term goals into bite sized steps is so important.

Dreaming like Dr. King, implementing like an engineer.

Logistics, small victories, step-by-step success.

These are the building blocks of a super-sized win.

Momentum. This is what we are after.

Small win builds on small win builds on small win.

It’s perfectly acceptable to shoot big.

But we need to be practical.

If we are not, we will probably fail.

Our big dream will not come to fruition.

What can we do today – small and attainable – that will put us on our path?

The right path.

This is long term thinking.

Where do we want to be 3 years from now? 10 years? 25 years?

For today, let us dream big, but do one or two things to make our dreams a little bit closer.